What is Ramsomware? 34% of small businesses have absolutely no idea what it is
1 out of every 3 small and medium scale businesses (SMB) are clueless to the potential damage than can be inflicted by ransomware malware. This kind of ignorance has cost so many companies dearly today.
In a study conducted by AVG (a private firm), it was found that it was only a tiny fraction of businesses that have an idea of what ransomware is all about, leaving the greater majority at the risk of being attacked by the malware.
Ransomware is a malware which when it finds its way into your system either through a link or a phishing email, encrypts your files and hard drive, making it impossible for you to use your PC again, and then demands a ransom in return for giving you the key needed to decrypt the encryption.
MarsJoke, a variant of the malware when it attacks your PC, will threaten to wipe out every data contained in it if the ransom isn’t paid in 96 hours.
Most ransomware developers now use deadlines to mount more pressure on their victims to speed up payment. Ransom often lies between a couple of hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Due to the lucrative nature of operation ransomware, cybercriminals have released a large number of this malware. Some of the variants of ransomware which have been on the loose over the internet include Virlock, Locky and Cerber. They mostly target hospitals, gamers and government.
In 2015, about 2,453 case of ransomware attack were reported, with the total cost of the attack estimated to be in excess of $24 million.
According to AVG, estimating the real extent of the damage caused by ransomware is almost impossible because so many businesses and organization out of the fear of being attacked again won’t come forward to report an attack.
In a survey conducted in June, it was found that out of the 400 SMBs coming from the US and UK that partook in the survey, 68% of them had heard of ransomware, while the other 32% are completely clueless.
This is quite surprising considering the fact that the first reported case of ransomware which took the form of a fake antivirus message, happened in 2005 (11 years ago). So being ignorant of the maleware is an unforgivable excuse.
Ironically, it was only 36% out of the 68% of respondents that believed they knew what the malware was all about, that gave the right answer. The other 32% were only making assumptions.
If your PC gets attacked by ransomware, the very first thing you will have to do is to find out if internet security companies like Kasperky and AVG are giving free decryption tools.
But in the event you couldn’t find a decryption tool, the best thing to do is to back up your data and then format your PC. Resist the temptation of paying up because you will only be providing the funds these criminals need, and there is no guarantee that you will be given a decryption key even after paying the ransom.